Coronavirus (COVID-19) Updates
City Continues to Provide Essential Services
As the City responds to the impact of COVID-19 on our community, City Hall and all city buildings remain closed to the public. Essential services will continue to be provided in accordance to the Governor’s order (read “Stay at Home Except for Essential Needs”).
For our city government, this includes law enforcement and departments that provide basic programs and services including maintenance of our water and wastewater services, public works response for replacement/repairs of the city’s infrastructure (e.g., streetlights, traffic signals and roads). View Status of City Services here.
For questions about City of Poway services. Response times may vary based on staffing availability:
Main Number: 858-668-4400
Development Services: 858-668-4600
Public Works: 858-668-4700
Community Services: 858-668-4595
Fire Department: 858-668-4460
We appreciate your patience and understanding as we focus on the public health crisis at hand. This is an unprecedented event and constantly evolving. What we know and do today may change tomorrow. We encourage you to stay in touch by bookmarking this webpage and following @cityofpoway on Facebook, Twitter and/or Instagram.
Statewide Moratorium on Residential Evictions for Renters
California issued a statewide moratorium on residential evictions for renters who cannot pay their rent because of COVID-19 related economic hardships. The moratorium went into effect on March 27 and is valid through May 31, 2020. Learn what you should do - this page also has many other resources for people financially affected by COVID-19.
County Continues Public Health Orders
[Posted 3/29/2020] The County of San Diego extended its existing public health order. The order was set to expire on March 31 and has been extended indefinitely. The order mandates the closures of non-essential businesses, including bars, restaurant dining areas, schools, gyms and fitness centers. The County provides a daily update on the number of cases in San Diego County, including a graph by cities. Please know that this information is collected by the County’s Public Health department and no additional information is provided to the City of Poway on cases in our city. View the County’s COVID-19 update page.
[Posted 3/26/2020] While city parks remain open, playgrounds at the parks are temporarily closed. This is part of the city’s efforts to slow the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The state’s stay at home public health order does allow for people to go outside for exercise, a walk or fresh air as you are maintaining a safe social distance of six feet from people who aren’t part of your household. If you are planning to visit a city park, please help reduce the spread of COVID-19:
- Think Six for Safety. Social distancing = 6 feet separation between you and others who are not a part of your household.
- Be Hygienic. Wash your hands, carry hand sanitizer or antibacterial wipes, cover your cough and follow other guidelines by the CDC.
- Be Considerate. Please stay home if you are sick or know you have been exposed to COVID-19.
Temporary Closures of Hiking, Recreation Destinations
[Posted 3/24/2020] For the safety of our community, the City of Poway will temporarily close the Lake Poway Recreation Area, Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, Iron Mountain Wilderness Area, trailhead to Rattlesnake Canyon, and skate park.
The city is taking these additional actions because of the large influx of people using these trails and recreation areas. This is to reinforce county and state public health orders for social distancing and limiting non-essential gatherings, which are critical for slowing the spread of COVID-19 in our community. The city will continue to monitor all city parks and amenities for usage and determine additional closures if needed in the best interest of the community.
The new closures listed above include access to hiking trails, parking lots and restrooms. Gates and parking lots will be closed; signage will be placed at all locations. The Sheriff’s Poway Station will assist with education and enforcement.
In response to questions and comments received regarding these temporary closures:
- The closed trails are ones that have become “destination” trails, with visitors coming in from all over San Diego County. Blue Sky, Lake Poway to Mount Woodson and the Iron Mountain trails consistently are named on any “best places to hike in San Diego” list.
- Other cities have closed beaches, trails and parks for safety reasons. There is a state public health order to stay at home. It is okay to get out and exercise, but we’re also being instructed to close public spaces that create non-essential gatherings or don’t allow for social distancing.
- Public health officials are telling people to avoid crowds and situations in which social distancing is not possible. In theory, being out on the trails is the perfect answer. But the reality – witnessed by staff last weekend – is that regional destination trails were more popular than ever. Of the areas closed, most of those trails are narrow and are tough to navigate while maintaining 6 feet of separation when crowded.
- Some people pointed out that being on a more-crowded-than-usual hiking trail may be safer than going to a grocery store. It’s a point well taken, but the City of Poway does not have jurisdiction over essential business, as outlined by the state’s public health order. We do have jurisdiction over our city parks, trails and recreation areas and have a responsibility to ensure that we do not incur an avoidable risk for the residents of our community. We not only have a responsibility; we have a mandate. The county’s public health order mandates the city to enforce social distancing requirements at parks and that if we are unable to enforce social distancing at a park, it will be closed to the public.
- And although we’ve closed the regional destination trails, here’s a little context. The combined mileage of all the trails in the Blue Sky Ecological Reserve, Lake Poway Recreation Area and Iron Mountain Wilderness Area equal about one third of the city’s total trails. That leaves close to 50 miles of hiking trails in the City of Poway for residents to enjoy. These mostly encompass neighborhood trails and paths that still allow people to get outdoors and connect with nature. They may not scale to great heights, but they create an opportunity to find a new adventure close to home.
Local Restaurants and Grocery Stores Continue Serving Poway
[Posted 3/24/2020] We’re working to help you continue to Shop Local here in the City of Poway. Download our list of restaurants open for take-out/delivery and local grocery stores. This list will be updated regularly, but please check with individual businesses for changes in operations and hours.
Keep Emergency Responders Safe
[Posted 3/23/2020] For your safety and the safety of our emergency responders, when calling 9-1-1 or the Sheriff’s non-emergency line at (858) 565-5200 let dispatchers know if you are experiencing flu-like symptoms or are quarantined. This ensures that our Poway firefighters and Sheriff’s deputies stay safe and healthy, in order to continue to protect our community and prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
Farmers Market Identified as an Essential Service; Poway Farmers Market to Re-open with Modifications
Last night the governor ordered all individuals living in the State of California to stay home or at their place of residence. Essential services have been ordered to stay opened, and farmers markets are included in that order of essential services.
Starting tomorrow, Saturday, March 21, the Poway Farmers Market will reopen as it provides an additional food resource for the community. It offers an alternative place to shop that is open air, is spaced out and doesn’t use shopping carts (fewer surfaces to worry about cleaning).
Following local and state guidelines, and to ensure the safety and well-being of those attending the market and selling at it, tomorrow’s market will look different then what you are used to.
What you’ll see at the market:
- The market will consist of farmers only. There will be less then 30 vendors set-up, which will allow for appropriate spacing.
- Vendors will be spaced at least 10 feet apart.
- There will be no vendors in the center isle of the market, allowing for a 30 foot aisle down the center of the market.
- There will be hand washing stations placed throughout the market. Vendors are also required to have their own hand washing stations set up at their booth.
- Vendors will be selecting the produce for you. Please refrain from touching the product, and let them know what you’d like.
- In accordance with state guidelines, the market is requiring 6 foot distancing from all attending the market and will be enforcing that with any lines.
How you can help:
- Send only one person to shop, and avoid bringing the whole family. This will minimize the amount of people onsite.
- The market is normally a social place, but for now please shop and then head home as requested per the governor.
- Please bring your own bag.
The Poway Farmers Market looks forward to being able to provide fresh, healthy food for you and your families in an opened air environment during this time. For the most up to date information, follow the Poway Farmers Market on their Facebook and Instagram social media accounts.
What Not to Flush: Help us Protect our Wastewater System
The Public Works-Utilities Department services over 186 miles of sewer collection lines, 12,212 sewer laterals, 4,066 manholes, and 5 sewer lift stations. This includes ongoing maintenance, cleaning, repairs, removing blockages, replacement of laterals, mains, and manholes. We encourage all Poway residents to adhere to some simple guidelines during the COVID 19 pandemic, and at all times throughout the year, to protect the wastewater collection system from blockages and spills. Please remember the following:
- The toilet is not a trash can.
- FLUSH ONLY water, wastewater, and toilet paper down the toilet.
- DO NOT place wipes, paper towels, towels, clothing, sanitary napkins, plastic items, rubber items, hair, dental floss, diapers, food or kitty litter in the toilet.
- DO NOT pour grease in drains or toilets.
Community Partners and Resources
Neighbors Helping Neighbors
The Poway Neighborhood Emergency Corps is a grassroots volunteer organization focused on helping neighbors prepare for emergencies and communicating between neighbors in times of disasters. The group is using their network of volunteers to help their Poway residents through this unprecedented event. The powaynec.com website has resources such as early shopping hours for seniors and others considered at risk and lists of drive-through/delivery grocery and pharmacy services. Volunteers are mobilizing to bring basic supplies to those in need. Visit their website for more information.
Poway Community Library Closes
For your safety and the safety of our employees All SDCL libraries are temporarily CLOSED. No returns will be accepted, due dates will be extended until we reopen. Curbside service is no longer available. Visit the library’s website or social media channels for updates.
EDCO Trash Collection
Waste removal has been identified as a critical and essential service and as such, EDCO will continue regularly scheduled collection operations. As the impact of the COVID-19 situation is changing daily, please refer back to their website for further updates for any operational changes. The Household Hazardous Waste facility remains open at this time (Info here).
San Diego Humane Society
San Diego Humane Society (Poway’s animal services partner) is temporarily suspending some public-facing services at the Escondido Campus. The humane society’s campuses in San Diego and Oceanside are open daily, but by appointment only. Guests can call 619-299-7012 to make an appointment. Starting Friday, March 20, our public hours of operation will be 10 a.m. - 4 p.m.
Poway Senior Center
Seniors in Need of Services
Older adults with needs or questions can call the County’s Aging Hotline at 1-800-339-4661 for assistance. Anyone 65 years old or older who has a chronic underlying condition or a compromised immune system should self-quarantine at home.
Free Mental Health Support
The constant changes and updates that come with COVID-19 can be overwhelming. The Access & Crisis Line serves all of San Diego County and is available 24/7 to help individuals in crisis and to offer mental health support. It’s confidential and free of charge. Call 888-724-7240 to speak with someone or visit their website to learn more.
San Diego Worker Assistance Initiative
United Way San Diego is hosting the San Diego Worker Assistance Initiative as part of the greater San Diego COVID-19 Community Response Fund, to provide flexible resources to individuals impacted by layoffs and reduced working hours implemented by employers. Learn more on their website.
County Launches COVID-19 Text Message Alert System
County residents can now receive information about the novel coronavirus via text thanks to the County COVID-19 public information text message alert system. The system allows County health officials to send real-time information about COVID-19 in the region. To sign up to receive the messages, text COSD COVID19 to 468-311.
Poway Unified School District
- coronavirus-sd.com (County of San Diego Public Health updates)
- 2-1-1 (Resource for information and services)
- CDC website (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)
- The Governor’s Office of Business and Economic Development has compiled timely information for employers, employees and all Californians as it relates to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak
- covid19.ca.gov (New state site for updates)
- sdsheriff.net (San Diego Sheriff’s COVID-19 response info included)
labor.ca.gov/coronavirus2019 (Employee resources for unemployed workers)
- Download the SD Emergency App (Google Play or Apple app stores) for emergency alerts from the County of San Diego on new developments
Governor Issues Stay at Home Orders
[Posted 3/20/2020] New public health directives were issued by the governor ordering Californians to stay at home for the preservation of public health and safety. The order provided for essential services to remain open, including gas stations, pharmacies, food providers (grocery stores, farmers markets, food banks, convenience stores, take-out and delivery restaurants), banks and laundromats/laundry services. (Read Stay at Home Except for Essential Needs). The orders also identified critical infrastructure that can remain open. (Read Identifying Critical Infrastructure During COVID-19)
Local Public Health Officer Orders were issued prior to the statewide order. It includes directives in the local orders that are not addressed by the statewide order. Local officials continue to stress that people can go outside. Poway’s trails and parks remain open, but please be respectful of state and county orders to limit gatherings and maintain social distancing of 6 feet.
City Declares a Local Emergency
[Posted 3/18/2020] The Poway City Council ratified the city’s declaration of a local emergency at a special council meeting on Wednesday, March 18, in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. Declaring a local emergency authorizes the city manager to take necessary actions to protect the public and welfare of the city from serious and imminent threat of the COVID-19 outbreak.
Fire Chief Jon Canavan also provided an update on the city’s actions to monitor and react in a rapidly changing situation (staff report available here). The city is following guidance from county, state and federal public health officials and has restricted public access to city buildings, temporarily reduced staffing levels while maintaining the delivery of essential services, opened its emergency operations center, instituted a 9-1-1 protocol for first responders, and has been updating constituents via the city’s website and social media channels.
In response to the change in staffing levels and focus on essential services, City Manager Chris Hazeltine said that while it won’t be business as usual: “We will get back to everyone who contacts us.”
Four Handwashing Stations Available for Public Use
The city received four handwashing stations from the County of San Diego as part of the county’s effort to prevent the spread of COVD-19. Public health officers have emphasized the importance of washing hands to limit the spread of the disease. The handwashing stations will be available at Community Park, Old Poway Park, Poway Community Library and in front of City Hall.
City Water Supply Remains Safe
Public water supplies in the San Diego region remain safe to drink due to numerous robust treatment processes used by local and regional water providers, including right here in Poway. Despite fears about coronavirus, there’s no evidence that the virus is transmitted through treated water. The U.S. EPA recommends that Americans continue to use and drink tap water as usual.
Special meeting update:
A special meeting of the City Council is scheduled for Wednesday, March 18 at 8:45 a.m. to ratify the city’s declaration of a local emergency in response to the COVID-19 public health crisis. The council chambers will not be open to the public; remote public participation is strongly encouraged online or by teleconference. An option for public teleconference access will be available at the Poway Center for the Performing Arts.
Information on how to participate is posted on the agenda. If viewing online or calling in via telephone, it is recommended to log in at least 15 to 30 minutes prior to the start of the meeting.
The City of Poway Is closely monitoring the outbreak of the coronavirus (COVID-19) with San Diego County public health experts. The County of San Diego’s Health and Human Services Agency is working with the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor and respond to suspected cases in the San Diego County region.
Poway staff are participating in regular briefings with public health officials and public safety agencies. At this time, residents are encouraged to stay informed and learn what you can do to protect your health, and prevent the spread of the virus. For information visit coronavirus-sd.com or call 2-1-1.
Older adults and people who have severe chronic medical conditions like heart, lung or kidney disease seem to be at higher risk for more serious COVID-19 illness. Learn more on the CDC website.